What can we expect in the next NFL season
Although the NFL season has just ended, it’s never too early to start looking ahead to what could happen in the next. The 2015 NFL season doesn’t start until September 10, when the defending Super Bowl champions, the New England Patriots, will host the annual kickoff game.
The football action will then unfold over 256 games during the regular season, culminating with the final clash at Super Bowl 50, the first time the event will sport Arabic numerals instead of the traditional Roman ones. Reportedly, the NFL logo designers weren’t able to create a suitable logo that incorporated the ‘L’ numeral in it.
In this article, we offer our early-bird predictions for the next season. This is what we expect could happen during the 96th NFL season, based on the latest info from the teams and a good dose of speculation.
5 predictions for the 2015-16 NFL season
1 – Peyton Manning’s last stand
One of the biggest NFL rumours doing the rounds at the moment is whether Peyton Manning will go ahead and play in 2015 or not. The has been no clear report that Manning is actively considering retiring before the next season starts but fans are wondering what they can expect realistically from the quarterback, especially since this year he’ll be 39-years old.
Obviously concerned about his shape, Payton will start training underneath the watchful eye of fitness guru Mackie Shilstone, a sign which all but confirms that he intends to play for the Denver Broncos at least one more time before calling it quits. All that remains is an official announcement.
Even if Manning doesn’t manage to perform as well as in previous seasons and the team sees a decline in his form, the Broncos will still have one of the finest quarterbacks in the NFL considering the shambolic situation other teams have to contend with in the quarterback department.
Besides Manning, other legendary quarterbacks who are nearing forty and might be playing their last season include Drew Brees and Tom Brady, even though the latter two haven’t shown nearly as much wear as Manning in December 2014 compared to the year before.
2 – Eli Manning wins NFL MVP
Another prediction, another Manning man. Eli hasn’t had the best of seasons last year, having suffered many interceptions, but overall he closed off the season with a fine showing.
Luckily, the stars have aligned for veteran Giants quarterback. Eli now faces the possibility of having a career year with Victor Cruz and Odell Beckham Jr as his primary receivers. The next NFL season will definitely be his best shot at joining his brother Peyton by winning the NFL MVP title.
Another big contender for MVP is J.J. Watt. Last year he came very close of breaking the sack record and 2015 might just be the year he finally does it. If he does manage to leave such a huge impact on the field, Watt could be the first defensive player voters award an MVP since Lawrence Taylor got it in 1986.
3 – Another win for the Patriots?
Will the Patriots be reconfirmed as Super Bowl champions this year? It’s everyone’s bet whether the reigning champions will retain the crown. The sports books put their early odds on a New England victory at 6-to-1, with the Seahawks tipped as favourites at 5-to-1.
Both teams will face stiff competition during the season, with teams like the Indianapolis Colts set on dominating the game and which could well turn out to be among this year’s dark horses.
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4 – Adrian Peterson tries to redeem himself on the field
The Adrian Peterson child abuse saga will probably continue featuring in NFL news well after the start of the 2015 season, but all indications seem to point towards the Minnesota Vikings and the NFL wanting Peterson to stick around and play.
influential people in the team and the NFL have voiced their support for Peterson’s return, saying that it would be a mistake to let go of a talent like. Vikings general manager Rick Spielman described Peterson as “a key part of our organization” and that in the face of his accusations he must rectify things and do everything that the NFL requires him to do in order to carry on being part of the football team.
Even though the Vikings and the NFL are ready to welcome back Peterson with open arms, it doesn’t mean they don’t have conditions to make. The NFL must first drop his suspension, which is bound to happen at any time now. Moreover, the Vikings are likely to require him to take a pay cut. Peterson has been non-committal at this point, although he has said in an interview that he believes he might benefit from a change of scenery.
5 – Giant leaps by smaller teams
The next NFL season will the the year for a host of small teams who will finally face the right conditions to flourish.
Among these teams are the Buffalo Bills and the Chicago Bears. Both teams have new coaches with a great track record and a formidable stable of players who will make a big impact on their teams.
Another team that is set for NFL success during the next season are the St Louis Rams, who could easily dominate the NFC West division with nicely balanced offense and defense pieces in their ranks.